Friday, January 5, 2018

Changes to Ontario's Employment and Labour Laws

Despite a strong and growing economy the nature of work in Ontario has changed. Many workers are struggling to support their families on part-time, contract or minimum-wage work.

In order to create more opportunities and security for workers within Ontario's changing economy, the Ontario government announced the Fair Workplaces, Better Jobs Act, 2017.

The act was officially passed on November 22nd 2017.

This legislation makes a number of changes to both the Employment Standards Act, 2000, the Labour Relations Act, 1995, and the Occupational Health and Safety Act, including major areas such as;
  • Minimum wage increase
  • Equal pay for equal work (casual, part-time, temporary and seasonal workers)
  • One week's notice or pay in lieu of notice for employees of temporary help agencies if longer-term assignments end early
  • Fairer scheduling rules
  • Vacation time
  • Expanded personal emergency leave in all workplaces
  • Unpaid leave to take care of critically ill family member
Minimum Wage Increase

Ontario is increasing its minimum wage rates [the lowest rate that can be paid by employers to employees].

As of January 1st 2018 the general minimum wage has been increased to $14.00/hr which will increase to $15.00/hr by January 1st 2019. Additional changes have been made to different employment categories.


Changes will allow employees to:
  • Request a schedule or location change once they’ve been employed for three months, without fear of being penalized
  • Refuse shifts if their employer asks them to work with less than 96 hours’ notice, without fear of retaliation, with certain exceptions
Employers will also be required to pay wages to the employees for three hours of work if the employee:
  • Regularly works more than three hours a day, shows up for work and works less than three hours or not at all (for example, the shift is cut short)
  • The shift is cancelled within 48 hours of their scheduled start time, with certain exceptions
  • Is scheduled to be on-call but, despite being available to work, is either not called in to work or works less than three hours. This will be required for each 24-hour period the employee is on call
Vacation Time
  • Under the new legislation, employees will be entitled to three weeks of paid vacation after five years with the same employer
Personal Emergency Leave
  • The legislation will require all employers to give all employees 10 personal emergency leave days per year, including two paid days if the employee has been employed for one week or longer (7 days)
  • An employee who has been employed for at least 13 consecutive weeks will be entitled to up to 10 individual days of leave and up to 15 weeks of leave if the employee or their child experiences domestic or sexual violence or the threat of domestic or sexual violence. The first five days of leave, each calendar year, will be paid, the rest will be unpaid.
For more on the changes to Ontario's Employment and Labour Laws, visit

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